An alarming new investigation claims that radical prisoners are compelling criminals to convert to Islam or face violence, with the phrase “convert or get hurt” now frequent within Britain’s prisons.
Sikh extremism, Hindu extremism, and Black nationalism are all flourishing as a result of the Home Office’s “laser focus” on far-right radicals, according to the 159-page paper produced by Colin Bloom, the Government’s spiritual adviser.
The independent review, published yesterday and entitled Does government ‘do God?, says 18 percent of prisoners identified as Muslim in 2021, compared with eight percent in 2002.
Mr Bloom explained: “Failure to identify as a Muslim meant that at best the new prisoner would be denied ‘protection’ from the dominant Muslim gang on that wing, or at worst the new prisoner would be subjected to violence and intimidation from that same gang.”
Referring to a 2019 Ministry of Justice report, he added: “This reviewer heard numerous stories from HMPPS staff that the phrase ‘convert or get hurt’ was commonly used by some Muslim gangs, and copies of the Quran would be left on the beds of new prisoners.”
Failure to identify as a Muslim meant new prisoners risked being denied “protection” and potentially being subjected to violence and intimidation, Mr Bloom added.
He further urged the Government to undertake an urgent review of prisoners “allegedly being coercively converted and radicalised in prison”, as well as the issue of faith-based gangs.
Mr Bloom added: “This will help identify any gaps in services that allow these issues to flourish, compromising the human rights and safety of prisoners, and the effectiveness of HMPPS as a rehabilitative system.”
Mr Bloom also expressed worries about registered religious schools such as yeshivas, madrassahs, and Sunday schools, which he said should be “appropriately registered and regulated.”